KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The first COVID-19 vaccine approved for emergency use by the FDA arrived Monday in Kansas City.
One day after the first shipments of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine left manufacturing facilities, Truman Medical Centers/University Health confirmed that it had received its first allotment of the two-stage vaccine.
Precious cargo arrived at TMC/UH this morning! As outlined by the federal and state governments, these are slated to go to our frontline staff who have been selflessly helping patients battling COVID. #COVID19 #CovidVaccine #COVID pic.twitter.com/g8z2XPu1oP— TrumanMedicalCenters (@TrumanMedKC) December 14, 2020
A spokeswoman with Truman Medical Centers, which has performed more than 85,000 COVID-19 tests during the pandemic across its health system, confirmed the vaccine's arrival Monday morning. The hospital later sent a release to news outlets about the shipment.
“This is the light at the end of the tunnel,” Truman Medical Center Executive Chief Clinical Officer Dr. Mark Steele said in a statement. “But it’s a very long tunnel. And so while the vaccine has arrived, we urge the public to continue to wear masks and practice social distancing.”
On Monday afternoon, TMC/UH ICU nurse Sarah Kiehl became the first Kansas Citian to receive the Pfizer vaccine.
"The medical center’s frontline healthcare providers will be the first to receive the vaccine, so that they may remain healthy and continue to care for patients," Truman Medical Center said in a release.
The decision is part of the phased rollout of the vaccine, which remain available in limited quantities for now. Residents at long-term care facilities, who have proven to be the most susceptible to dying from COVID-19, also are eligible for the vaccine during this initial wave.
Tier one inoculations are expected to be completed by the end of the year, Truman Medical Centers/University Health said.
The general public isn't likely to have access to Pfizer's vaccine or any others expected to receive emergency use approval, including one from Moderna, for several months.
Other hospitals in the Kansas City area also expect to receive shipments of Pfizer's vaccine soon. It requires two shots a few weeks apart and must be stored at minus-94 degrees Fahrenheit.
Saint Luke's does not know when they will be receiving the first set of vaccines but is hopeful it's soon.
"We are following the news and we are hearing that most of it should be shipped by Wednesday afternoon," Greg Teale, Saint Luke's Health System Chief Pharmacy Officer, said Monday. "We do know that we are one of the pre-positioned sites so we expect that probably in the next day or two that we will receive vaccines."
Nursing homes and senior living facilities are on stand by as well as they are among the first to get the vaccine as well.
"For the first wave, we are cutting out the middle person and it's being shipped right to the hospitals or right to the CVS's and Walgreens that won't be doing the general public," Kansas City, Missouri, Health Department Director Dr. Rex Archer said Monday. "They are going to the nursing homes to give this."